The Corner

Filling in the Missing Words on Iran?

The U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, had some fairly strong words about Iran on an Israeli military radio station yesterday. Reuters reports:

“It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically and through the use of pressure than to use military force,” Ambassador Dan Shapiro said.

But that doesn’t mean that option is not fully available — not just available, but it’s ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it’s ready,” said Shapiro, who the radio station said had spoken on Tuesday.

This statement is especially interesting in light of Elliott Abrams’s searing piece on NRO last week about the Obama administration’s limp rhetoric on Iran. His rhetoric about the possible use of force has not risen to the effective level of Jimmy Carter’s statements about Iranian threats to control the Persian Gulf (Carter: “Such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force”). Abrams pointed out that, by contrast, Obama’s most aggressive statements have heretofore been non-specific and not credible — for instance, his statement that “the United States will do everything in our power to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon” isn’t specific or, strictly speaking, true (the U.S. would not use nuclear weapons to prevent it).

It isn’t easy to parse the meaning of diplomatic threats, but this statement seems like a more effective and credible statement to Iran of U.S. intentions, and should therefore be lauded — though it’s still notable that the threat was prefaced by a plea for diplomacy, and delivered by a surrogate, not the president himself.

Patrick Brennan — Patrick Brennan is a writer and policy analyst based in Washington, D.C. He was Director of Digital Content for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, writing op-eds, policy content, and leading the ...

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Science & Tech

Set NASA Free

The Trump administration has proposed shifting the International Space Station from a NASA-exclusive research facility to a semi-public, semi-private one. Its plan would nix all government funding for the ISS by 2025 and award at least $150 million per year to NASA to help with the transition. This would be a ... Read More